This post is a companion piece to an earlier post on how to attend SF ALA on a budget. As a Bay Area native, I lived in S.F (The City, but never “frisco”) for a couple years and would love to share some of the things that make it great. If you’re adventurous and on a budget, here’s one girl’s favorites for seeing San Francisco:
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In the area of the Moscone (Maw-SCO-knee) Center:
The Cartoon Art Museum
A wonderful little museum, featuring famous works you’re sure to recognize, and exhibitions like artwork from The Secret of Kells.
The Ferry Building
Like Chelsea Market in NYC, the Ferry Building offers a sampling of the city’s finest eats and shopping treats. On the water, it’s a lovely spot to enjoy watching commuters come across from Oakland. Take the historic F line trolly straight down from Market street for a neat way to see the financial district. And make sure you get a rose geranium meringue or gingerbread cupcake from Miette Patisserie. Mmmmm.
If you’re looking for a hike to a historic view that won’t disappoint, then leave Fisherman’s Wharf to the tourists and take the amazing art stairs up to Coit Tower. The (expensive) ride up the elevator to the top always has a line, but it’s an amazing sight if you have the time for it. If not, here’s what it looks like:
Bourbon and Branch
As far as bars go, this one is not to be missed. Freshly made vintage cocktails, books on the walls, and yes, a speakeasy with a secret pass code in back called The Library. It’s off Union Square, so bring a friend and enjoy!
Goorin Bros. Hat Shop
I am a confirmed hat addict, so I had to put this one in! With locations around the city (including Haight St.) this midpriced shop has just the right mix of classic design and modern twist.
A little Farther Afield:
City Lights bookstore
This famous independent has been center stage for progressive politics and poetry since it opened in 1953. Pick up works by the Beat Generation and enjoy the awesome basement selection of anarchist children’s books.
The Kintetsu Mall in Japan Town
If you love authentic Japanese crepes, books, and culture in general this is a must-do! The Kabuki Springs spa is one of the city’s only hot tub spots, and it’s amazing.
The Legion of Honor- Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Legion of Honor is both one of my favorite places in the world, and my old workplace. Small enough to do in two hours, this absolutely beautiful museum houses European and ancient collections in a stunning cliff side setting (yes, with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge). It’s a trip to the other side (the OCEAN side) of the city, but %100 worth it. Bonus: the restaurant is a wonderful place for lunch.
The current exhibition, High Style, features textile collections from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.
Other places in California
If you get a chance to drive north across the Golden Gate bridge, you’ll find yourself in the north bay wine country. I grew up in Sonoma County, and can attest to the beautiful, if increasingly gentrified, setting.
Check out Glen Ellen for Jack London State Park, where London is buried (pic: Katherine Ahnberg)
Santa Cruz. Redwoods, beaches, hippies, and killer Mexican food. This is my home away from home (and alma mater up the hill at UCSC). Check out West Cliff Drive, Kelly’s Bakery, and the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery. This is a picture I took from Its Beach, home to the free Surfer Museum.
Ahh, now I’m homesick. Luckily, I’ll be seeing you all in a few short days! Have an questions or further suggestions? Leave me a comment.